Interview with Ruth Marks
q) Introduce yourself first please?
a) My name is Ruth Marks and I make small figurative pieces, some people call
them dolls. I live in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA with my husband and two
q) How did you get into art?
a) When I was a little girl I wanted to be a medical illustrator. I loved to draw
and look at anatomy books. I made my first doll as a gift for my mom's friend
when I was nine. It was a marionette that had a light bulb for a head. As I
was growing up, everyone told me that it would be impossible to be an artist,
and I listened to them. I went to school to be an art teacher instead. I was an
art teacher for seven years and finally last year I left the profession. I have
been working as an artist full time now for a year. I will soon get a side job to
supplement my art. My bills come in every month, and you get paid for
artwork in a much more sporadic manner. I will feel calmer having money
coming in from a few different places.
q) Who has been the biggest influence on you?
a) My biggest influences are the books I read as a child like The Chronicles of
Narnia and other adventure novels. Tracy Gallup is a doll artist who lives in
my town. As a young person, I loved to look at her work and now as an adult
I am her friend. I love to look at classical art in museums and books, but
recently my most inspirational artists are New Brow or Pop-Surrealist. When I
found these artists, I felt like I was coming home.
q) Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work, or you only
follow what comes in your mind?
a) I just make what comes to me. There is a pattern and and a unity to my
work, but at the time it seems like an isolated idea.
q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?
a) Paper clay is my medium of choice right now. It is very beautiful and
q) Tell us about your studio space. Where do you work? Do you listen
to certain types of music while working?
a)We live in a huge old Victorian house with many rooms. The house was
divided up into apartments when we bought it, and we converted one of the
kitchens into my studio, which is perfect because of the great light and the
running water. I listen to podcasts and books on tape. I work best with voices
talking. Music is easy to walk away from, but a conversation you have to stay
till the end, so it is more conducive to working.
q) Who are your favorite artists?
a) I love Scott Radke, Red Nose Studios, Cristina Cordova, Sylvia Ji, Kiki Smith,
Fuco Ueda, Audrey Kawasaki, Jen Corace, Tracy Gallup, Lotte Klaver, and on
q )When have you started using the internet and what role does this
form of communication play for you, personally, for your art, and for
a) I built my first website a few years ago (maybe 2004?) It is a useful
portfolio. I love having it available to offer to people when they want to see
my work. I love the internet most for the things I have found on it. So many
artists are so generous and put their things where we can all see and be
q) What books are on your nightstand?
a) I am rereading some novels from my bookshelf... books that are dense and
have interesting characters.. Ahab's Wife, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.
q) What's playing on your stereo?
a) Outkast, CSS, The Faint, Fiona Apple, Bjork, Hot Chip, YACHT, LCD
Soundsystems, Noisettes, PJ Harvey, Soundtrack to Juno.
q) Any interesting "rituals" before you start creating?
a)Get my coffee and toast, set the ipod up to play my podcast, go.
q) What is your favourite colour?
q) What is the best time in the day for you to work on a project? Is
there one, or is it more about the environment -- maybe the right
a)I work best in the afternoon and evening. In the morning I am better at
paperwork and email.
q) What projects mean a lot to you at the moment?
a) I am working on a new series of adventure girls. They are climbers and
stilts walkers. For the climbers I am "re-writing" the Rapunzel story so that
she climbs down her own hair to escape.